Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
I have a 12 year old daughter named Paige Riley. It was my favorite name then, and it’s still my favorite name now. I cannot imagine my sweet, strong girl with another name!
My new boyfriend and I are expecting a baby together in October. It will be a delivery surprise, which is more stressful than I originally thought when I agreed to not find out in advance.
His list of names is:
- BOYS: Stephen (but he pronounces it like Stefan), Scott, Jack
- GIRLS: Jeanne/Jeannie, Hope, Denise, Robin
Paige has a list of names, too! Her ideas are:
- BOYS: Julian, Sebastian
- GIRLS: Rosalie
My favorites are:
- BOYS: Wyatt, Grayson, Nolan
- GIRLS: Avery, Quinn, Kinsley
The baby’s last name will end with an S, so we are ruling out names like Miles and Brooks.
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
How exciting to be expecting your second – and how fun that your daughter can suggest names, too!
A few things stand out to me:
- It seems like your style hasn’t changed too much over the years, even if the names you’re all about in 2022 are different than your favorites with your daughter. Avery, Quinn, and Kinsley all sound like sisters for Paige Riley – modern, upbeat names with a certain amount of unisex style. The boys’ names on your list all sound like their brothers.
- Your boyfriend’s tastes are a little more surprising. They’re super-midcentury! Well, Stephen makes me wonder if he’s a Golden State Warriors fan. Is there a story behind any of his favorites?
- Your daughter has great taste in names! Older siblings have sometimes told me that they’ve been involved in naming their much-younger siblings. I was eleven when my brother was born, and I still vividly remember sitting down to discuss names.
Looking at the names themselves, a few of them jump out at me:
JACK or JACKSON
It seems like the obvious compromise choice. Would Jackson called Jack appeal to you more? I can imagine a name like Jack Wyatt, Jack Nolan, Jack Grayson, Jack Sebastian, or Jackson Scott working well.
On the other hand, I think Jeanne sounds like the perfect middle name. It works with Kinsley, too, but I think I like it best with Avery. And how great are Paige Riley and Avery Jeanne as sister names?
I’m not sure if your boyfriend is on board with dropping all of his favorites for a daughter’s name, but if Jack is your boy name, then it feels right that you’d get a little more input for a daughter’s name.
Another sweet combination taking a first from your list, with a middle from your boyfriend’s favorites.
It might also be worth talking about the inspiration behind your boyfriend’s choices.
Maybe he’s just ahead of the curve – Jeanne, for example, peaked in the 1940s, so I’d expect we will be hearing it make a comeback in another dozen years or so.
But if there’s personal meaning attached to some of the names on his list, then they probably deserve more consideration.
Plus, maybe there’s an opportunity for creativity? If he wants to honor his beloved aunt Denise, that could also include her surname and middle name, for starters.
Piper Lee (mom’s style)
Or Piper Jean to include dad’s style
Bradley Nolan (maybe the Brad part can convice dad, since it seems to be his style)
All three lists are pretty good, so I think there’s room to combine any of these names for a sibling for Paige Riley!
Here are some possible names, as well as the combinations that stuck out to me…
++ JULES STEPHEN / STEPHEN JULES — I like your daughter’s suggestion for Julian but I thought maybe “Jules” fits the kind of image that names like “Wyatt, Grayson, and Nolan” emulate.
++ KINSLEY HOPE — Second this! I actually really love the thought of Paige & Kinsley together. They sound like siblings already.
++ ROSE AVERIE / ROSE AVERY — Looks like your boyfriend and your daughter like that first syllable “Ro” and “Rose” is both timeless, kind of unexpected as a first compared to her more elaborate variant names. Depends on where you live! And have you considered the alternative spelling of “Avery”?
You all really have great lists, so I think you’ll come up with a winning duo regardless of what is said here.
All the best to your growing family! x
For boys, I wondered about Beau. Then my daughter mentioned that two girls she knows named Paige have brothers named Brodie.
And how about Gemma for a girl? Or instead of the romantic Rosalie or classic Rose, perhaps Rosa has a bit more spunk?
Paige & Beau
Page & Brodie
Paige & Gemma
Paige & Rosa
A different Marisa says
I love hearing what names kids think are nice. For me Julian seems too romantic, but maybe it’s actually a cool kid name for her generation! Sebastian has been one of my faves since I was her age (~30 years ago) so it’s cool to see that it hasn’t aged as well. I like how her choices also split the difference between your boyfriend’s more classic pics and your more modern ones. Sebastian Jack would be an awesome name, as would Rosalie Jeanne!
I also love Robin from his list and Wyatt from yours. Would you be comfortable with a compromise like “if a girl, we’ll go with your first choice and it it’s a boy we’ll go with mine”? Robin would be great with any of your choices as a middle, and Wyatt Scott or Wyatt Sebastian are fantastic.
I also love the suggestions of Gretchen (or maybe Gwen?) and Soren!
Love Tilden! Adding it to my list!
The daughter has great taste in names! I think she should get to choose the middle at least – or maybe even go with two middle names, like Jeanne Rosalie.
Alison Doherty says
Since you got to already use your favorite name, if you want to go with your boyfriend’s favorites I would choose Jack or Hope. I think they feel both timeless and contemporary, just like the name Paige.
Jack Sebastian, Jack Wyatt, Jack Grayson — all adorable!
Hope Rosalie, Hope Avery, Hope Kinsley – so beautiful!
And all these choices go well with Paige Riley!
Erin Beth says
Some ideas that seem to work with your diverse styles:
Lark or Larkin
Hope! Paige and Hope sound like sisters!
Maybe Hope Lennox.
If not Scott, how about Scout?
I love that your daughter has her own list! Very romantic choices indeed. My friend’s 12yo daughter actually chose her younger sister’s name after my friend and her partner were at a standstill – she chose Rose! I think she’s onto something with the longer names too – maybe they would allow you to each choose a nickname that matches your style, as in dad calls Rosalie ‘Rose’ but you call her ‘Roxy’, and Sebastian could be ‘Seb’ to dad and ‘Ash’ to you, etc.
I’m so curious about your BF’s choices! Scott, Jeanne, Hope, Robin feel poised for today’s babies. Jack is already hot. Denise is decidedly not. And Stephen pronounced Stefan – I’d totally caution against that. Use Stefan if that’s the name he likes. I’d love to meet a little Stefan.
FWIW I love these combos from your lists:
Quinn Robin (I love that the girls would share an R middle)
I would argue that if your child will take BF’s surname, he’s already well represented so you should have a name you love represented!
A few split-the-difference ideas?
Soren nn Sonny
Graham nn Gray
Conrad nn Rad
Ivan nn Vannie
Cassidy nn Cassie or Sid
Imogene nn Genie (Jeannie)
Holland nn Holly
Paige Riley and…
I think these one syllable, less trendy, simple and sweet names pair perfectly with Paige! Your picks are all more modern, two syllables which pair nicely with middle name Riley.
Outside of that pattern, Paige Riley and…
I love your daughters romantic name choices but they do feel quite different from either of your naming styles.
Instead of Julian, maybe Jude as a first.
Instead of Sebastian, maybe Sawyer as a middle.
Instead of Rosalie, maybe Rose as a first or middle.
Congrats to you!
My first thought was Tilden – Surname name that sounds right at home in 1962 or 2022 + plus it has the classic nickname of Tilda which sounds right at home with Jeanne. The only downside is that it is significantly less popular than Paige given to only 11 girls last year. But I don’t think that’s a downside.
The 2nd option is Gretchen – Midcentury favorite that sounds like it could be a surname and Paige & Gretchen while different sound like they could be sisters – strong , non frilly girls names.
A couple other options –